Annex 43: Ellada | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

9030 de L’Acadie
Montreal, Quebec

Bus:  STM 19, 54, 100, 119, 460
Train:  Chabanel

Visit:  September 23, 2011

http://www.restaurantellada.com/

It’s been a fully charged Greek cuisine week for me.  When I heard that our colleagues at school were planning a retirement party at this restaurant, I had mixed feelings.  For one, my fellow food fanatic teacher cohort, who is Greek by the way, did not have rave reviews for the food.  I also wasn’t going to pull out the full food blogger Mr. Lew hat for this evening, but I was convinced otherwise by my cohort.  He was hoping that I would back up his previous statements.  The rest of the personnel at school all felt that the food was quite good.  I think I was going to make it my goal to see the truth since I obviously eat a lot.

My preparation for this event was helped by the listed fixed price menu in our staffroom.  As I perused the list, I didn’t see much that really peaked my interest.  As a matter of fact, I only really recognized a few things.  In a way, I was worried about what I’d be eating, but on the other hand, excited to expand my still quite small repertoire.  The other interesting thing I noticed was the unique telephone number for this restaurant. (514-850-0000)  It’s not every day that you see so many zeroes in a telephone number.

On the day of the event, my apprehension for the evening was pretty high.  I had the comments from the Greek teacher in my mind the whole day.  So, earlier in the day, I made the mistake of having an entire take-out poutine and a Snickers bar.  Whether or not, I’d be able to eat a full complete meal was to be seen.

Upon reaching the location, on time I might add, I noticed that three very large tables were set up.  Luckily, those tables were filled to capacity for our get-together.  What bothered me somewhat is that the rest of the restaurant wasn’t quite as packed as it could have been.  Then again, I think that was the last red flag I had the rest of the night.

As I sat down, I was informed that we were going to be having a meal family-style.  Much like in Chinese restaurants, we were going to share plates listed from the fixed menu.  This was good news for me, since I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull in a full eating performance.  Luckily, I did eat quite my fair share of what was presented to me.

I also made it a point to watch the staff during this evening.  Mind you, I was distracted my excellent dinner conversation and having to check the Montreal Canadiens progress that night.  Just for those of you who are interested, the Habs came back to beat the Senators in pre-season by winning 4-3 in a shoot-out.  Of all people, it was Scott Gomez who tied the game and Max Pacioretty who really stood out.  So, when I wasn’t distracted by obviously Montreal things to be thinking about, my eyes were back on the servers and owners.  The servers looked rushed as they were trying to keep up with the nearly 50 person party.  Despite that, I think they managed to get things out quickly enough.  They also treated some of us quite well with respect.  The owners were around to supervise and I was actually quite pleased to see one of them dancing when the music was blaring.

Speaking of music, this would be a nice opportunity to mention how I feel about music and eating.  No.  I think that’s simple enough for me.  I do not personally like having blasting music at the eating establishment that I’m at.  Maybe in my old age, my hearing my not like it, but I’m there for the food.  I would rather have the food take me out, than have some really loud musical chorus deliver the knockout head ache inducing blow.  Suffice it to say, I’m partially deaf as I’m writing this.

On a service level, the restaurant staff delivered as I didn’t feel uncomfortable the entire night.  The decor is quite interesting as some of us made jokes concerning the obviously graphic half-statues in the dining area.  I also can’t count the number of times someone mentioned the washrooms to me.  The only regret is that I didn’t need to actually use the facilities to see what the fuss was all about.  In all, it’s a quite nice place to eat at.

Olives

These are pretty standard at a Greek restaurant.  On this particular night, I didn’t have one.  I personally didn’t think having to deal with the inner seed was something I wanted to do.

What’s Under the Cover?

Bread

What’s a night out to a restaurant without the inclusion of bread?  I mostly took the above photos to test out how my still-new camera did during darker night restaurant visits.  As I didn’t have any bread, I could only imagine what it was like.

Kolokithatkia Tiganita

These are essentially fried zucchinis.  It  wasn’t until later in the evening when another one of my colleagues confirmed to me what this really was.

For an appetizer, this was a good start.  The zucchini was comparable to potatoes sliced up and topped with a really mild cheese.  I think that this plate actually disappeared quite quickly from our section of the table.

Spanakopita

This is a spinach pie with a faint taste of cheese.  Recipes for this vary, so I won’t make any guesses as to what was in this.

This particular appetizer dish wasn’t my favorite of them all.  I actually hesitated to bite into this until someone else did.  They warned me that it was really hot, not spicy, but like just taken out from the heat.  As much as I wanted to wait, I broke it in half and took a bite.  The pie is so hot that I had a tremendous amount of trouble trying to figure anything out about the taste.  It was only near the tail end of the chewing where I figured that there was cheese in it.  Compared to the previous appetizer, I only had one.

Tzatziki

This is also another very popular Greek restaurant.  This particular “dish” only made its appearance after the two appetizers came out.  While my colleagues go heads over heels for this stuff, I do not like it so much.

Fried Calamari

The first real plate of food came out after a little bit of music and dancing.  I didn’t touch this one either because of what it is.  While you may think I’m crazy and unreasonable, I will not eat anything that I’m disgusted by.  If I don’t like the way it looks, I won’t eat it.  Now, this dish doesn’t look it, but I personally didn’t like the animal it came from.  I feel the same way about octopus and scallops.  Before you start thinking I didn’t eat anything else, the next plate would soon fix that.

Village Style Salad

This is the second village style salad I’ve had this week.  Unlike the last version at Tripolis, the feta cheese was in one larger piece.  Since we were a few people, we had to serve and separate the salad ourselves.

The big thing that caught me in this salad was the fact that the feta cheese didn’t live up to my expectations.  There was a little bit of a different aftertaste that I didn’t get with other previous feta experiences.  So, I pretty much didn’t partake in anymore feta for the remainder of the salad.

The part of the salad that I really liked were the tomatoes.  They really stood out and made the salad good for me.  Along with the actual inclusion of lettuce, this salad was satisfactory enough to make me want to have more food.

Vegetables

This is one of the few dishes where I wasn’t sure what was in there.  What I am sure of is the fact that there were potatoes, various onions and peppers.

The potatoes were the strong point of the dish.  They almost had a spicy quality to them.  Each bite you’d take is like a flavorful punch to the face, in a good way.  I was disappointed when we ran out, because I would’ve like to of had one more piece.

The other vegetables were almost sweeter than the potatoes, though they retained some of the same zip.  Despite that, they were the less potent member of the plate.

Mia Pistaria Meat Platter

This meat platter supposedly contains steak, roasted chicken, pork, and lamb.

I have some doubts as to what was on this plate.  I was able to identify the steak, chicken, and pork.  It was the lamb that I never found.  So, even if I had some during this meal, I cannot still ever really claim to of ever had lamb.  Despite the fact that I had four people around me, we still couldn’t really identify things.  Even though that was the case, the quality of the meat cooked was just something else.

The chicken was consistently cooked as I had two big pieces of it. It was an interesting look to it, but in the end, the taste didn’t leave me any bad thoughts, like I’ve had with other chicken dishes in the past.

The pork was a bit of a darkhorse.  It wasn’t as good at the pork fillet I had days ago.  It was a little tougher, more a kin to the kind of pork I had at home.  The taste wasn’t that strong, but wasn’t bad at all either.

The big star of the platter, to me, was the steak pieces.  I only had about 3 pieces of it and I liked the grilled quality of it.  It’s the kind of unique taste that I enjoy in steak.  Towards the end of the platter’s completion, I managed to find, much to a colleague’s amusement, a piece with a good amount of fat on it.  I don’t know about you, but that’s the best part.  The fat gives the meat real good flavour.  Even if it takes me one step closer to a heart attack, it’s so worth it.

Loukoumades

These are dessert balls consisting deep fried dough covered in sugar.

As I was eating them, one by one, I was thinking of this reminded me.  It’s like you take a timbit, heat it up, and really cover the thing in a syrupy sugar like sauce.  That’s exactly what you’d get.  The taste isn’t apparent or powerful, but you can’t really help but taking bite after bite.  Alright, I didn’t really take bites, I just put the entire thing in my mouth.  Even if that didn’t look pretty, I still did it. 

Final Words

I went into Ellada without a real appetite or real expectations.  As the night progressed and as I tasted more food, my opinions heightened.  They may have changed cooks in the recent past because that had my Greek colleague stunned and surprised.  The only thing that worried me was the fact that there weren’t very many other patrons in the place.  I would be strongly interested in coming back to see what else they offer and if it is consistent.  But, for what it’s worth, I thoroughly enjoyed myself that evening.

Estiatorio Ellada on Urbanspoon

  1. mrlewburger posted this
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